Mary Ann Redmond: Prisoner of the Heart (2002)
Washington, D. C.'s Mary Ann Redmond must have been weaned on the albums of Aretha Franklin, Lee Dorsey, Gladys Knight (with and without the Pips) and other soul artists who claimed their place in the annals of American Popular Music during the 1960's and beyond. This urbanization of rhythm and blues eventually migrated into a pop oriented sound as all "new" musical styles seem to end up. The music became harder and tougher, relying on syncopated rhythms, raw vocals, and blaring horns. To her credit, Redmond uses the traditional soul, R & B vehicles such as the guitar, organ, sax and background vocals to deliver the music on this CD, much of which she wrote, giving it an authentic soul sound. That she sings with such heart wrenching emotion also helps legitimize her presence in the hall of soul singers. One of the more touching pieces from the session is "I Can Let Go Now", which is done as a duo with John Ozment. Like much of the product of this genre, it has a gospel inflected tinge to it. Two other cuts that will get repeated listening are the Sam Cooke classic, "You Send Me" (which leans more toward jazz than soul), and her own "Blind to Love". But overall, there isn't a disappointing track on the album and it is easily several notches above the pop material being foisted on the public today.
The lyrics to the songs Redmond composed are reprinted in the liner notes. You can also visit her at www.marb.com.
Track Listing: Make It Last; Since I Fell for You; Maybe I'm Amazed; Blind to Love; That's All; Prisoner of the Heart; You Send Me; Many Rivers to Cross; Ain't It a Shame; Too Precious; I Can Let Go Now
Personnel: Mary Ann Redmond - Vocals; John Jennings - Guitar/Organ; Leonard Stevens, Chuck Underwood - Guitar; John Ozment, Benjie Porecki - Keyboards; Al Williams - Sax; Gary Grainger, Steve Taylor - Bass; Andy Hamburger, Deren Blessman -Drums/Percussion; Al Johnson, Tommy Lepson - Background Vocals
Record Label: Q&W Records